As I write this I have nearly completed one year as the Director of Open Hands. In some ways the time has flown by and in others it has crawled. I suppose it is fair to say that things are going well, at least the Board of Directors has not voted to terminate me. For all of the members of the Board who have put their trust in me thus far I wish to say thank you.
In my year of time I have seen changes for the better, and some I wish I could take back that did not turn out so well. I have seen four members of our Board of Directors step away while two new members have recently accepted the invitation to begin serving.
I have learned that I had a great teacher in my predecessor, Steve Slostad. Steve encouraged me up until his retirement and to this day when he stops by Bethlehem Lutheran he will come and talk with me. On a recent visit as he was walking away he said to me, "I picked the right person." I can tell you that meant a lot to me as that particular day I was in the midst of some difficulties and just hearing him say that lifted my spirits.
I have learned to live by a slogan I came up with awhile back, some of you may recognize it if you have ever gotten an email from me because it appears under my name, and that slogan is, "The reward is IN the journey."
I have learned that things with Open Hands are moving forward as we trust God to lead us. He knows exactly what the plan for this organization is and it will be revealed as it needs to be. Sometimes, and this is just human nature, we want things now, in our time. Then we get frustrated when it does not happen. But if we put our trust in God, if we pray about things, God will do far more than we ever darned to dream or imagine. Thus, I have learned patience and that is a good thing.
I have also learned a lot about food safety through our partnership with Second Harvest Heartland, more about that is in the article titled "Food Rescue" above. Did you know that Redeemer Lutheran Church in White Bear Lake has a team of people who are dedicated to picking up food from the Shoreview Super Target each week? It is quite amazing to me that one man makes up a schedule for six months at a time and, as the saying goes, it runs like clockwork. Did you also know that myself and Vickie Hendricks are the two people who do the Tuesday and Thursday pick up at Kowalski's Market? All I can say is thank goodness for trucks, vans and SUV's because it surely would not be easy to load this all in a car, just sayin'...
In November we had the pleasure of hosting our celebration dinner at Open Hands. For me this was a great chance to have many of our volunteers, partners and donors all in the same place. I do hope those of you who attended got a chance to meet people you have never met. For me it was especially rewarding to see how many people came that night. I also felt that Pastor Steve Molin was an excellent speaker for the evening, really clarifying what a great thing it is for Open Hands to be doing what we do exactly where we are doing it. The Board of Directors was inspired by what took place that evening as well and on behalf of them I would like to say THANK YOU to all who came, all who made donations or pledges and of course the wonderful people from Roseville Lutheran who prepared, served and cleaned up the meal.
Of course this would not be an article from me if I forgot to share something about myself with you too. This time I thought I would share with you about my favorite food in the whole world, pizza. One thing many people know about me is, and if you are one of the few who do not, I LOVE pizza. I seriously would eat it for each and every meal if I could but something tells me a few spinach salads here and there are a good break, I guess.
However, I have not always LOVED pizza, yes, strange but true. When I was a little kid our family would go to the local Pizza Hut for dinner. My Mom would pack my lunchbox with a peanut butter sandwich. I am not exactly sure when my like for pizza came into existence but suffice it to say it has never ended. While growing up my Mom would make pizza each Saturday for our family's dinner. She made it all from scratch and to this day the sauce recipe is just in our memories. Because I am a picky eater, and I do not like turkey, my Thanksgiving dinner was homemade pizza. My favorite kind? If it is take out then it has to be Domino's thin crust Wisconsin 6 cheese with onions. If I make it at home it is the same thing, only I use two or three kinds of cheese and onions. Hmmm, maybe we need to start serving pizza for Monday meals, just sayin'...
As I finish up the final blog of 2015, it would not truly be from me if I did not say how happy I am that it is HOCKEY season. But seriously, I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best for a wonderful and happy 2016, just sayin'...